By Rose Sugatan and Nadiya Mutchu Sehgal
Mobile billboard campaigns have long been a popular way for companies to promote their products and services. From large billboards on the sides of trucks to mobile pop-up shops, there are many ways to use trucks as a creative advertising platform. Sometimes extravagant and flashy advertising campaigns are just the way to go! Since they have the potential to be interactive and penetrate through multiple channels, it is quite effective and impactful. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most innovative and effective mobile billboard campaigns from Canada and the US, as well as others from around the world.
Tim Hortons Coffee Ice Cream Truck
Picture Source: narcity.com
Tim Hortons is a beloved Canadian coffee chain that is known for its iconic red and white cups and delicious donuts. It is so popular that the word ‘timmies’ is synonymous with coffee.
In recent years, the company has expanded its brand with a mobile coffee truck that travels to events and festivals across the country. The truck is outfitted with a full coffee bar, allowing customers to order their favorite Tim Hortons beverages on the go including its most iconic drink double-double.
In 2022, Tim Hortons kicked off the summer with a limited-edition ice cream truck and gave away scoops of the delectable ice cream collection. Made with 100% Canadian dairy, the lineup included five flavours for Torontonians to enjoy. The inclusion of flavours like caramel and chocolate donut pieces set it apart and created a buzz. What made this campaign impactful is the per person impression it could make and create. This would not have been possible without the reach mobile advertising has to offer. Additionally, zeroing in on known high-target areas was beneficial. Business districts where people would be most likely to go on a coffee break were efficiently utilised. Areas where a Tim Horton’s store isn’t available was now accessed via the truck. It created a lasting impression on consumers especially since they could try the brand’s new products as well. This helped drive sales, retention and recognition.
Dunkin Donuts Coffee and Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts is an American multinational company that offers coffee and baked goods. They have been using trucks as a creative advertising platform for many years.
In Boston, the company launched a unique and eye-catching mobile billboard campaign, which featured a large truck that resembled a giant coffee cup and box of donuts. It was a popular attraction in the city and generated a lot of buzz on social media and news outlets. The campaign demonstrated the power of using trucks as a platform for advertising and marketing, and successfully captured the attention and imagination of Bostonians.It was certainly eye-grabbing and innovative. Opting for one advertising method is not enough for brands anymore. Oftentimes they have to get out there and remind people of why their products are worth purchasing. Therefore an exciting outdoor campaign like this one creates a buzz. The mobility this offers also helps reach a wider audience. This was a perfect example of an impactful advertising campaign.
Picture Source: boston.com/spencer-sheehan
Netflix and Chill
Netflix is an American media company which streams movies. In 2015, Netflix launched a clever truck advertising campaign in the US to promote its new original series, Narcos. The campaign featured a truck with the slogan “Netflix and Chill” emblazoned on the side, a popular euphemism for a night of binge-watching TV shows and movies with someone special. The truck was also fitted with a luxurious living room, complete with a large flat screen TV and comfortable couches, making it the perfect spot for a Netflix marathon. This extravagant and seamless campaign generated much buzz. It also managed to make the trending list on social media. Since people see thoughts of ads a day, this campaign took it one step further almost as though they wanted to ensure it would be noticed. This jaw-dropping campaign created hype for the show which eventually garnered millions of views and made it one of the most popular television shows of all-time.
Picture Source: tvienes.com
McDonald’s Mobile Restaurant
Picture Source: mobilefoodnews.com
McDonald’s, the pioneers of the fast food industry, launched a unique advertising campaign in 2011 in Germany that involved a mobile restaurant built into the back of a truck. The truck featured a full kitchen, seating area, and drive-thru window, allowing it to function as a fully operational McDonald’s restaurant on wheels. They made fresh food on the go and took orders the way it’s done in a real static drive-thru. The truck didn’t just visit one location, but instead multiple locations attracting large crowds and generating a lot of publicity for the fast food giant. Brands which use participation as a tool almost always generate interest in people. Bringing an idea to people that seems new and awesome is a sure and fast way to make a campaign successful. The interesting campaign made headlines and garnered quite a few views on YouTube. Since users enjoy experiences, they will share it on the digital platform willingly. It also creates a positive brand association.
In 2017, McDonald’s in Brazil did a similar campaign garnering the same type of attention and hype around the brand.
Guinness Nitro IPA
Guinness makes a type of dark draught beer. They produced nitrogen infused beer called Nitro IPA beer. In order to launch this product in 2015, Guinness created a unique advertising campaign in the UK to promote its new Nitro IPA beer. The campaign involved a truck that was outfitted with a special keg system, allowing each customer to pour their own pints of the new brew. This introduced the beer to new and potential customers as well as ensure that they had a personal experience with the brand. Additionally, people spend time consuming and being involved with the product. Since the experience has been personal, there is a chance for recall and the product being bought and recommended in the future. Once people interact with a brand in this way, it also changes the way they perceive it. A once unknown brand becomes known, a once ignored product is quickly consumed.
Additionally, when a new product is launched, people often wait for reviews before purchasing it themselves. Therefore, giving them a fair chance to try it creates a positive impact in the consumers minds.
The truck traveled to various locations around the country, giving customers a chance to not only try the new beer but also share their experience on social media which thereby generated a buzz.
Coca-Cola Happiness Truck
Coca-Cola, a carbonated soft drink company is known for some of its unique ads.
In 2012, Coca-Cola launched the Happiness Truck campaign in Brazil. The campaign involved a truck that was transformed into a mobile party, complete with music, confetti, and lots of Coca-Cola. It was supposed to resemble a vending machine, therefore, every time someone pressed the button labeled ‘open happiness’, something would pop out along with a bottle of coke. A 2-minute video was taken of all the various objects people received which put a smile on their face and the video went viral.
Picture Source: youtube.com/coca-cola
Coca-Cola Turkey did the same campaign during rush hour. A truck made its way onto a busy expressway which was stuck in slow-moving traffic. Commuters who were stuck on the highway walked up to the truck and took objects and a bottle of coca-cola out. Some objects were balloons, pizzas, toys, etc.
Since this was such an innovative and memorable campaign, the hashtag “Where will happiness strike next?” was found on social media making the campaign a huge success, and it has since been replicated in other countries around the world. Since every brand’s end goal is to retain brand loyalty, this campaign certainly took the cake in this aspect. Some of the other countries that followed suit were Canada and The Philippines.
KFC’s Colonel on Wheels
KFC is an American fried chicken brand by Colonel Sanders. In 2017, KFC launched a unique advertising campaign in India that involved a truck with a larger-than-life image of the company’s founder, Colonel Sanders, on the side. The truck was outfitted with a giant red bucket of chicken, making it a fun and eye-catching way to promote the brand. The truck traveled to various locations around the country, giving customers a chance to try KFC’s latest offerings and generating a lot of buzz on social media. This showcases the effectiveness mobile or out-of-home, interactive billboards have in modern advertising.
Picture Source: global.kfc.com
IKEA’s Moving Day Truck
IKEA is a multinational ready-to-assemble furniture store.
In Canada, July 1st is known as “Moving Day,” as it’s the most common day for people to move into new apartments and homes. In 2016, IKEA capitalized on this by launching a truck advertising campaign that offered free moving boxes and Swedish meatballs to customers. The truck traveled around Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, generating a lot of goodwill and positive press for the furniture giant. They would hand out boxes for people to pack in and act as an essential moving truck. Several people documented this and a minute long video can be found on YouTube showcasing the unique campaign.
Picture Source: flickr.com
Budweiser Prohibition Brew Truck
Budweiser is a Belgian beer brand. In 2016, Budweiser launched a new non-alcoholic beer called Prohibition Brew. In order to promote the product, the company created a special truck that traveled to various events around Canada. The truck was outfitted with a 1920s-style speakeasy bar, complete with a pianist and flapper girls, making it a fun and memorable way to promote the brand. The concept was different, which made people want to participate and experience the brand through this campaign.
Picture Source: movia.media
Vans “Off The Wall”
Vans is an active footwear brand. It is a well established brand, and quite often their products are sold with their solid campaigns and high brand recognition. An interesting mobile billboard ad done by Vans was “Off The Wall”. They used a truck as an illusion. Basically, the billboard itself became a part of the ad’s design. A skateboard is placed on the lower half of the billboard, with the front and back wheels of the truck being painted green while the rest are black. It gives the passerby the impression that those are skateboard wheels. It definitely made people turn twice and appreciate the art on the ad.
Picture Source: wordpress.com/myva301
KitKat “Have a Break”
KitKat is a chocolate covered waffle bar by Nestle.
Their intriguing billboard ad displayed a man relaxing on a hammock and snacking on their product. It genuinely looked like someone was sitting in it in real-time. The clever and humorous billboard truck would make anyone stop and appreciate the brilliance of the ad. Their tagline fits just as well “Have a break, have a KitKat” has the right amount of humour and imagination to stop anyone in their tracks.
Picture Source: flickr.com
Picture Source: evgrieve.com
Trojan is a popular condom brand. Known for their upbeat and humorous approach, they launched a unique mobile billboard campaign. This time they went for a more serious and direct approach. It featured a large truck that was wrapped in graphics promoting safe sex. The truck also had a built-in sound system that played educational messages about sexual health.
Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Tour:
Lay’s is a sought after potato chip brand. They launched a mobile tour in the US. They wanted to introduce new flavours to the public, therefore they gave consumers multiple samples and asked them to vote for their favorite new flavor. The campaign featured a large truck that was wrapped in graphics promoting the tour and included a sampling station where people could try the different flavors. This allowed consumers to try the product without having to purchase it first, giving the impression that the brand genuinely cares about the feedback they will directly receive from the consumer.
Picture Source: steamcommunity.com
These are just a few examples of the most creative and effective mobile billboard campaigns from Canada and the US and the rest of the world. From mobile restaurants to beer fridges, these campaigns demonstrate the power of using trucks as a platform for advertising and marketing. Whether it’s generating buzz on social media or creating a memorable brand experience for customers, truck advertising is a smart and effective way to promote your products and services.
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